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Inspection report is not a repair list for sellers Posted Sep 30, 2016 6:00 AM

Q. Before buying our home, we hired a home inspector to make a complete repair list for the sellers. He did a very thorough job, but the inspection was a waste of money because the seller refused to fix anything. The inspection report listed problems with the plumbing, electrical wiring, forced air furnace and the roof, but the seller said, “Take it as-is or leave it.” This is very disillusioning. If the seller is not obligated to repair defects, then what’s the point of having a home inspection?A. Your question reveals a common misunderstanding about the purpose of a home inspection. Homebuyers often regard an inspection report as a repair list for sellers, but sellers are not required to provide a flawless house. Unless specified in the purchase contract or required by state or municipal law, they have no obligation to make repairs.Some purchase contracts require sellers to correct problems disclosed in a pest control report, such as dry rot or termite infestation, and most states require sellers to provide functional smoke alarms in specified areas of a home. When it comes to home inspections, most repairs are subject to negotiation between buyers and sellers.In most transactions, buyers will request that various conditions found by their home inspector be repaired before the close of escrow, and sellers usually agree to some of these demands. In these cases, sellers make repairs as a matter of choice, not as an obligation. Typically, they do so as a gesture of goodwill or to facilitate completion of the sale.On the other hand, there are rigid-minded sellers who flatly refuse to fix anything, even at the risk of losing the sale. Fortunately, this response is an exception rather than the rule. Still, sellers maintain the legal right to refuse most repair demands.Before submitting your repair requests to the seller, try to evaluate the inspection report with an eye toward problems of greatest significance. Look for conditions that compromise health and safety or that involve active leakage. Most sellers will address problems affecting crucial areas such as the roof, fireplace, gas-burning fixtures, or electrical wiring.Routine maintenance conditions call for a lesser degree of concern and should not be pressed upon the seller. If the house is not new, it is unreasonable to insist upon correction of minor defects. Nit-picky demands can alienate the seller and kill the sale. Your willingness to accept minor problems may persuade a seller to correct conditions of greater importance.The purpose of a home inspection is not to corner the seller with a repair list. The primary objective is to inform you of the condition of the property so that you know what you are buying before you buy it. All homes have defects. It is not possible to acquire one that is perfect. What you want is a working knowledge of significant defects before you close escrow. As the old sea captain once told me: “It doesn’t matter if your boat has a leak, as long as you know that it’s leaking.”• To write to Barry Stone, visit him on the web at www.housedetective.com, or write AMG, 1776 Jami Lee Court, Suite 218, San Luis Obispo, CA 94301.© 2016, Action Coast Publishing

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Home & Garden

Inspection report is not a repair list for sellers Posted Sep 30, 2016 6:00 AM

Q. Before buying our home, we hired a home inspector to make a complete repair list for the sellers. He did a very thorough job, but the inspection was a waste of money because the seller refused to fix anything. The inspection report listed problems with the plumbing, electrical wiring, forced air furnace and the roof, but the seller said, “Take it as-is or leave it.” This is very disillusioning. If the seller is not obligated to repair defects, then what’s the point of having a home inspection?A. Your question reveals a common misunderstanding about the purpose of a home inspection. Homebuyers often regard an inspection report as a repair list for sellers, but sellers are not required to provide a flawless house. Unless specified in the purchase contract or required by state or municipal law, they have no obligation to make repairs.Some purchase contracts require sellers to correct problems disclosed in a pest control report, such as dry rot or termite infestation, and most states require sellers to provide functional smoke alarms in specified areas of a home. When it comes to home inspections, most repairs are subject to negotiation between buyers and sellers.In most transactions, buyers will request that various conditions found by their home inspector be repaired before the close of escrow, and sellers usually agree to some of these demands. In these cases, sellers make repairs as a matter of choice, not as an obligation. Typically, they do so as a gesture of goodwill or to facilitate completion of the sale.On the other hand, there are rigid-minded sellers who flatly refuse to fix anything, even at the risk of losing the sale. Fortunately, this response is an exception rather than the rule. Still, sellers maintain the legal right to refuse most repair demands.Before submitting your repair requests to the seller, try to evaluate the inspection report with an eye toward problems of greatest significance. Look for conditions that compromise health and safety or that involve active leakage. Most sellers will address problems affecting crucial areas such as the roof, fireplace, gas-burning fixtures, or electrical wiring.Routine maintenance conditions call for a lesser degree of concern and should not be pressed upon the seller. If the house is not new, it is unreasonable to insist upon correction of minor defects. Nit-picky demands can alienate the seller and kill the sale. Your willingness to accept minor problems may persuade a seller to correct conditions of greater importance.The purpose of a home inspection is not to corner the seller with a repair list. The primary objective is to inform you of the condition of the property so that you know what you are buying before you buy it. All homes have defects. It is not possible to acquire one that is perfect. What you want is a working knowledge of significant defects before you close escrow. As the old sea captain once told me: “It doesn’t matter if your boat has a leak, as long as you know that it’s leaking.”• To write to Barry Stone, visit him on the web at www.housedetective.com, or write AMG, 1776 Jami Lee Court, Suite 218, San Luis Obispo, CA 94301.© 2016, Action Coast Publishing

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